I don't need any more stringed-instruments; I have my main electric guitar; a backup electric; another electric that's strictly for sentimental decor and only occasional strumming; an acoustic-electric; an electric bass; an upright dulcimer; a lap-steel guitar; and a mandolin. But I definitely want more instruments (specifically a high-end Dreadnought acoustic and/or one of several hollow bodies I've been eyeing). So whenever I see a music sale coming up, I take a look, just in case.
Which is how I found myself flipping through Guitar Center's 4th of July Sale, and stumbled on these disgusting beasts.
These special edition Game of Thrones Fender Custom Shop guitars were released in April 2019, and run between $25,000 and $35,000 a piece. Yes, you read that right: twenty-five thousand to thirty-five thousand dollars. And according to Fender, they each take around 100 hours to make, which makes them a little less absurdly priced, but still completely unnecessary.
Even if I had that kind of money, I don't think I'd go much higher than this $4,350 thinline semi-hollow Telecaster (hint hint). I genuinely cannot fathom who the market is for these hideous GoT axes. Was Fender approached by a Private Equity Consultant who encouraged them to target the niche market of a billionaire trustfund babies who love fantasy and collect guitars to display in their homes?
The $30,000 Lannister Jaguar (center) does come with a 24K gold leaf over on the front, back and headstock, as well as a gold-plated pickguard; the shiny finish on the body is actually just paint. Read the rest
I've successfully talked myself out of buying a hollow-body telecaster to add to my already-too-large collection of stringed instruments. As difficult as it's been at times, I have still managed to stand firm against my desires.
But I might have to give in and build myself a Legocaster. Read the rest
Brian May, "your friendly neighbourhood rock star" (as he described himself in a post) is doing a series of "MicroConcertos" on his Instagram account. On them, he shows fans and fellow guitarists how he achieves some of his famous Queen licks.
Brian is also using his account to try and keep fans' spirits up and to encourage them to take self-isolation very seriously, observe sterile technique, and to make the most out of the time. "Keep calm and create" he summarizes.
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This spontaneously turned into a ‘Star Licks’ type tutorial ... as an experiment, really. I don’t think I’ll Ever try to do it this way again, though - because it was ridiculously time-consuming trying to put it all up on IG ‘Stories’. Here’s a very rough potted version for posterity. Tell me how useful (or not!) it was. OK ? Bri
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Willie Nelson's Martin N-20 guitar, affectionately known as Trigger, has seen some shit. Happily, the majority of the shit it's seen has been in the name of making countless music lovers, the world over, happy. Over the years, Willie's finger-pickin' playing style has worn second soundhole into the guitar (not to mention the other carnage that this poor instrument has somehow survived.)
To keep Trigger alive and playable, Texas-based luthier, Mark Erlewine, gives the iconic instrument a whole lot of TLC during the guitar's annual checkup. Read the rest
I don't know why this exists, but I'm glad it does. I just want to know how it sounds, and how it plays! I guess I'll have to visit Cranmer Guitars the next time I'm in Glasgow. Read the rest
You might recognize Wilko Johnson's as Ser Ilyn Payne from Game of Thrones, but that role's small potatoes compared to his musical legacy. As the lead guitarist and song writer for the British pub rock band Dr. Feelgood, Johnson's choppy, percussive style of playing is considered to be one of the earliest influences of the early UK punk scene. When you listen to Joe Strummer hacking away with his axe in The 101ers, you're hearing Wilko.
In this brief video filmed back in 2012, Wilko demonstrates the ins and outs of the fierce, economic playing style that helped give rise to The Sex Pistols and The Clash. I've been a fan of the man for decades and, last week, was fortunate enough to spend a good chunk of time chatting with him. Look for my interview with Wilko to pop up on the site at some point in the near future.
Image courtesy of Abigail Elizabeth Photography Read the rest
In the early 1960s, pedal steel guitar virtuoso Pete Drake (1932-1988) played his instrument through a talk box to record a fresh cover of the song "Forever." A talk box essentially routes an amplified instrument's sound from a small speaker into the musician's mouth via a rubber tube so they can shape the tone as if they're speaking. (Of course in the rock arena, Peter Frampton made the talk box famous a decade later on tracks like "Do You Feel Like We Do.")
Interestingly, the talk box concept dates at least as far back as the late 1930s when Alvino Rey used a microphone on his throat to modulate the sound from his electric guitar. Rey called his approach the "singing guitar" and almost certainly inspired Drake's "talking steel guitar."
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Russian guitarist Alexandr Misko delivers another rousing fingerstyle guitar cover. This time, it's the turn of A-ha! Previously: George Michael's "Careless Whisper," The Cranberries' "Zombie," and so many more.
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Alan Gogoll put a camera inside his guitar to record Stringscapes, a lovely set of short songs with a beautiful sunset vista visible outside the sound hole. Read the rest
Master luthier John Monteleone created a series of four archtop guitars, one for each season. Anthony Wilson of The Met shows how and why each sounds different than the others. Read the rest
Jills veranda is a lovely Swedish music showcase filmed in Nashville. Here Swedish pop star Veronica Maggio joins host Jill Johnson for a cover of "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. Read the rest
In this short video, you'll learn how to achieve Johnny Cash's cool textured, rhythmic strumming sound with a playing card. Read the rest
LA Weekly did a nice piece on the new Front Row Legend Esquire guitars made of reclaimed wood benches from the Hollywood Bowl. They also toured Fender's Corona factory. Read the rest
Master luthier Mark Erlewine takes us through the fascinating process of repairing Trigger, the same guitar Willie Nelson has played for nearly 50 years. Read the rest
$12k for a guitar made of the boards where people sat and listened to historic concerts.
What kind of pick-up does this fantastically expensive beauty come with? Best I can tell: Black. I hope it sounds really, really good.
This is especially the case with Fender's new, limited edition Front Row Legend Esquire line. Made in Fender's Custom Shop by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov, these special Telecasters are built to order using 100–year–old Alaskan yellow cedar from the Hollywood Bowl's original bench boards.
Since its official opening in the summer of 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has spent almost 100 years hosting some of the biggest acts of every decade. Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, and Black Sabbath are just a smattering of the talent that has graced the Bowl's stage, and now, you can own a functional piece of its history.
Shishkov maintained the characteristics of each piece of bench board that he used, with all of its original scratches, cracks, and bolt holes. The top of each guitar will also feature the original seat number.
(Thanks, Jason Mancebo!) Read the rest
The Acoustician performs excellent acoustic, instrumental guitar covers of classic rock songs. See the solo training videos too.
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